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Other titles in the Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books series:
George Perkins Marsh: Prophet of Conservation (Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books)
Synopses & Reviews
Book News Annotation:
G.P. Marsh wrote what William Cronon calls in his foreword, one of America's three most important environmental texts, Man and Nature (1864) (the other two were Silent Spring and Sand County Almanac). Man and Nature argued that deforestation led to the demise of civilization: that because the ancients cut down their trees, there was erosion, drought alternating with floods, and climate change, the latter because moist forests no longer evaporated water into the atmosphere to cause rain and cooler temperatures. Environmental disaster then led to economic and social disaster. Perkins seems to have predicted the future, but this time it will no longer be confined to this or that area. In addition to Man and Nature, Marsh was a linguist who spoke some 20 languages, as well as a congressman, lawyer, and diplomat who served as U.S. envoy to Turkey and Italy for 25 years. He also helped found and guide the Smithsonian Institution. Lowenthal, emeritus professor of geography, University College, London, published an earlier biography of Marsh in 1958.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
George Perkins Marsh (1801-1882) was the first to reveal the menace of environmental misuse, to explain its causes, and to prescribe reforms. His seminal book Man and Nature is famed for its ecological acumen. The clue to its inception lies in Marsh's many-sided engagement in the life of his time. An acclaimed linguist, lawyer, congressman, and diplomat, he served 25 years as U.S. envoy to Turkey and to Italy. He helped found and guide the Smithsonian Institution, penned potent tracts on fisheries and on irrigation, spearheaded public science, art, and architecture. He wrote on camels and corporate corruption, Icelandic grammar and Alpine glaciers. His pungent and provocative letters illuminate life on both sides of the Atlantic.
Like Darwin's Origin of Species, Marsh's Man and Nature marked the inception of a truly modern way of looking at the world. Marsh's ominous warnings inspired reforestation, watershed management, soil conservation, and nature protection in his day and ours.
David Lowenthal here offers fresh insights, from new sources, into Marsh's career and shows his relevance today, in a book which has its roots in but wholly supersedes Lowenthal's earlier biography published in 1958. Marsh's devotion to the repair of nature, to the concerns of working people, to women's rights, and to historical stewardship resonate more than ever. His Vermont birthplace is now a national park chronicling American conservation, and the crusade he launched is now global.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 545-573) and index.
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